Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

2/20/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again. Without this, no man can love his enemies

Forgiveness in the rough and tumble of life is a complicated matter, and though we may utter the correct platitudes about forgiving our neighbor, oftentimes, depending on the offense, we harbor a residue of anger toward, and distrust of, those we have supposedly forgiven.  Of all that I read about forgiveness, it was a sermon by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that made the most realistic case for the possibilities of forgiveness. What Nietzsche had idealized - forgetfulness - Dr. King looked directly in the face: "Certainly one can never forget, if that means erasing it totally from his mind. But when we forgive, we forget in the sense that the evil deed is no longer a mental block impeding a new relationship."

Dr. King's words and example can help us imagine a different kind of culture, a culture of forgiveness, where a real or perceived evil act 'no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.' If Dr. King could successfully inject this attitude into such a volatile moment in our history, then a culture of forgiveness is still possible.

Dr. King's words and example can help us imagine a different kind of culture, a culture of forgiveness, where a real or perceived evil act "no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship." If Dr. King could successfully inject this attitude into such a volatile moment in our history, then a culture of forgiveness is still possible.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/20/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: culture, forgiveness, healing, peace, Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Mercy, Love, culture of forgiveness, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The philosopher Frederich Nietzsche wrote that true forgiveness required complete forgetfulness.  Being the son, grandson, and great grandson of Lutheran ministers, Nietzsche was well-versed both in Scripture and the fundamentals of Christian theology.  When I first read that passage, while in graduate school, I thought the atheist got forgiveness exactly right, but now I realize that only God can truly forgive and forget.

Forgiveness in the rough and tumble of life is a complicated matter, and though we may utter the correct platitudes about forgiving our neighbor, oftentimes, depending on the offense, we harbor a residue of anger toward, and distrust of, those we have supposedly forgiven. 

Of all that I read about forgiveness, it was a sermon by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that made the most realistic case for the possibilities of forgiveness. What Nietzsche had idealized - forgetfulness - Dr. King looked directly in the face:

"Certainly one can never forget, if that means erasing it totally from his mind. But when we forgive, we forget in the sense that the evil deed is no longer a mental block impeding a new relationship."

Dr. King, of course, spoke from the kind of experience that makes his remarks all the more remarkable and authoritative. His achievement of rallying support for civil rights without channeling more than a century of pent up anger, and desire for revenge, looks more and more remarkable from the distance of nearly 50 years. His movement had every reason to evince a righteous anger, but on this Dr. King would not compromise. He knew there would be no change, no transformation, without maintaining relationships with those whose minds needed to change:

"Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again. Without this, no man can love his enemies."

When you live in or around Washington, DC, as I do, the Gospel proclamation of loving your enemies is particularly germane - our nation's capitol has become a barely habitable place where the spiritual sins - wrath, envy, and pride - are considered tools of the political trade. A slight is rarely forgotten, and anything more serious is never forgotten. ("House of Cards" may be overly dramatized, but the character types on display are easily found.)

Unfortunately, the ubiquity of 24-hour cable news and talk radio has injected this poison into the bloodstream of America. It's an eye-opener to get off a plane to meet friends on the other side of the country and hear them want to talk about whatever dust was being stirred up by Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. Ever since Obama was elected President, several friends of mine can talk about nothing but him and the "destruction" of our nation. Needless to say, we don't talk as often as we used to.
 
The lack of forgiveness, thus, infects not only the "perpetrator" and the "victim" but those around them who necessarily are caught in the jet stream of their vitriol. Wounds of this sort do not remain isolated, they grow larger, encompassing entire communities. Unless forgiveness is forthcoming, there is nothing to impede and turn back the spreading bitterness.

Dr. King's words and example can help us imagine a different kind of culture, a culture of forgiveness, where a real or perceived evil act "no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship." If Dr. King could successfully inject this attitude into such a volatile moment in our history, then a culture of forgiveness is still possible.
 
The quotations from Dr. King can be found in his sermon, "Loving your Enemies" in Strength to Love, Fortress Press, 1981.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading


IT'S ABOUT TIME: Rick Perry deploys national guard to halt southern invasion! Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, in an effort to stem the flood of illegals that have crossed over throughout 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort to stem the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have been entering the United States illegally in 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption Watch

Image of Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as ... continue reading


BUSTED: FedEx indicted on numerous counts for shipping illegal internet pharmacy drugs Watch

Image of Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes. As a result, FedEx Corp. - a trusted mail delivery system has now was indicted for ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Song of Songs 3:1-4
1 On my bed at night I sought the man who is my ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-2, 11-18
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Mary Magdelene
July 22: She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter